Dads say they want to be equal caregiving partners. Now they just need to do it.

February 4, 2021 0 By boss

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Three women earn Golden Globe director noms, Bumble prices its IPO, and new research finds that men overwhelmingly want to be equal partners in caregiving—but few are actually doing it. Have a good Thursday.

– Just do it. As Fortune has reported (again and again), getting women’s careers back on track in a post-COVID world will require strong action from both government and employers. But when it comes to who does what in our daily lives, the responsibility hits, well, closer to home.

This morning, Fortune’s Maria Aspan reports on fresh research from New America, which sheds light on some of these caretaking dynamics. The think tank finds that 80% of men—and 91% of all survey respondents—say men and women should share care work equally. So far, so good. But, here’s the rub: only 46% of respondents said that’s what happens in real life.

New America kept digging, and found that many of the men who do take on a significant portion of caretaking have something in common: they’ve done it before. Indeed, many of these men are or have been “high-intensity” caregivers, responsible for an adult, or a child with medical or behavioral issues.

“Whether they choose to, or they have to—[that experience as a caregiver] that’s what changes them. That’s this transformative experience in their lives,” Brigid Schulte, director of New America’s Better Life Lab and author of the report, tells Maria. “So as a society, how do we get men from this abstract notion that care is valuable, and that they should do it, to actually doing it?”

From a societal perspective, surely one of the answers to this question is to support caregivers so they no longer have to choose between their jobs and their loved ones. (The survey finds that men who are high-intensity caregivers have faced many of the same career setbacks that the pandemic is now dealing out to women.) But on the level of individual households, the research suggests that the only way to solve this chicken-and-egg dilemma is for dads to just do it: stop thinking or talking about “pitching in” and start not just helping, but actually owning the responsibility for caretaking.

Easier said than done, I suppose. But if women can handle it, I trust men can too.

Kristen Bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe



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